The Phoenix Suns moved on from head coach Monty Williams after their embarrassing 4-2 loss in the second round to the Denver Nuggets. Heading into the playoffs, the Suns were the favorites to win the Western Conference. After they acquired Kevin Durant in a blockbuster trade, the Suns went undefeated and many thought that they would easily take a trip to the NBA Finals.
With them falling flat on their faces in the second round after injuries to Chirs Paul and Deandre Ayton, the front office decided that it was time to move on from Williams. He likely will not have to wait long to find another head coaching position. During his four-year stint with the Suns, Williams had a record of 194-115 and also coached Phoenix to an appearance in the NBA Finals in 2021. There are three coaches with championship experience that would be great fits in Phoenix.
The first coach that the Suns should take a look at is Nick Nurse. Nurse was fired this season by the Toronto Raptors after five seasons with the team. In that stretch, he had a record of 227-163. Along with this, he won the Coach of the Year award in 2019.
Nurse put his name on the map after doing a masterful job of coaching the Raptors in their championship run with Kawhi Leonard in the 2018-19 season. When Leonard left the team the following offseason, Nurse was still able to coach his team to only five fewer losses.
He is one of the smartest and most savvy coaches in the league. Toronto’s roster is currently in no place to win, and they are a team better suited for a head coach that thrives in developing players. Nurse is able to bring the best out of stars, and he would be an incredible fit for the Suns.
The second coach that could end up in Phoenix is Mike Budenholzer. Budenholzer has had success everywhere he has served as a head coach. He began his head coaching career with the Atlanta Hawks where in five seasons, he led the team to a 213-197 record. In his most successful year with the team, he turned the Hawks into one of the most balanced teams in the league, and four of his players would end up making the All-Star game. While they were ultimately defeated in the playoffs, this was still an incredible season.
He picked up his first NBA championship of his head coaching career in the 2020-21 season when the Milwaukee Bucks took down the Phoenix Suns. During his five years with the Bucks, Budenholzer finished with an incredible record of 391-271. While Budenholzer made some questionable decisions in crucial moments with the Bucks, he has been a proven winner everywhere he has gone.
The final coach that the Suns should consider is Tyronn Lue. Throughout his entire coaching career, he has been at the helm of winning teams. Along with this, he knows how to coach star players. During his time with both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers, he has had to learn how to handle the egos that oftentimes come with coaching some of the league’s biggest names.
As the head coach of the Cavaliers, Lue had an overall record of 128-83 and won a ring with the team in the 2015-16 season. Along with this, he was also the head coach through two other Finals appearances in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
While he has not had as much success with the Clippers, he still has had an incredible record of 133-103 as the head coach through the Kawhi Leonard and Paul George experiment in LA. Although the team still has not made the Western Conference Finals with the duo, the blame can not be placed on Lue’s shoulders. His star players have consistently been fighting injuries and have struggled to be on the court at the same time when the season is on the line.
As he is still under contract with the Clippers, this may be a very difficult move for the Suns to pull off. However, with the success that Lue has coached star-filled teams to, it would be more than worth it for the Suns to at least give him an interview.
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